Investing in Gender Equality: EU Bank and women’s rights campaigners join forces
- Feb 5, 2018
Today advocates for gender equality and experts from the banking and finance sectors have been meeting senior representatives from the EIB in Luxembourg on how the EIB Group’s newly approved Gender Action Plan can best serve the promotion of gender equality in all its activities.
- New Gender Action Plan will guide implementation of the EIB Group Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic empowerment, promoting gender equality in the operational activities of the EIB and EIF
- Civil society organisations and representatives from the financial and banking sector EIB experts and members of the EIB Board of administration joined to optimize kick-off
- The focus is on action to protect women’s and girls’ rights; to ensure equal access by women and men alike to benefits generated by EIB Group investments; and to target women’s economic empowerment.
Today advocates for gender equality and experts from the banking and finance sectors have been meeting senior representatives from the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg on how the EIB Group’s newly approved Gender Action Plan can best serve the promotion of gender equality in all its activities. Leading the debate alongside EIB Vice President Alex Stubb, was Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Joanna Maycock, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking and Elise Badoy, Deputy Head of Citi Research, EMEA.
Last year the EIB Group supported hundreds of projects worldwide with more than 87 EUR billion of financing. As the world’s largest Multilateral Financier – the EIB Group has now committed to promoting gender equality in all of its activities through Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment, which came into force last year. The Gender Action Plan – informed through consultation with key partners and civil society organizations to implement it – was approved last month.
Vice President Alexander Stubb who is responsible for Gender Policy at the EU Bank said, “You can count on me to champion this agenda. This is a no brainer. All the evidence confirms that supporting women’s economic empowerment makes ethical, social, economic and business sense. A growing number of investors from diverse backgrounds have come to realise the benefits of actively promoting women’s empowerment. And we have seen that as a result of this global step change, European Institutions, EU Member States, FTSE 100 and other blue chip companies, International Financial Institutions, and we here at the EIB, are stepping up to the plate on gender equality. Our Strategy is in place but as we turn that into action we need to work together. That’s why we appreciate the constructive engagement of partners in civil society and banking with whom we hope to continue working – because putting this into practice is now the most important objective.“
Speaking after the meeting today, Joanna Maycock, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby said, “Economic policies are not neutral. They have a major gendered impact, and if gender is not taken into account any policy and investment will further contribute to sex discrimination and gender inequality. The time is now. There is a major momentum and a growing movement from women’s marches to online activism to women in boardrooms and parliaments and indeed in some quarters too. With its Gender Strategy and new Gender Action Plan the EIB now has the ability to show leadership and use its power and resources to be at the vanguard of bringing real change in Europe : greater equality, less poverty; and greater social cohesion too.“
Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom said, “The adoption of a gender strategy by EIB is to be warmly welcomed and is much needed. It will make a huge difference if the promised impact and protection can be achieved through effective and strategic investments. That can only really be done if there is meaningful engagement with the civil society organisations from the communities which will be affected by the investment; if investment is guided by the reality on the ground coupled with the legal obligations and stated principles in the strategy, I believe we will be looking at a real and tangible benefit across the board.“